FALMOUTH – If it wasn’t for the name embroidered on the back of the hockey jersey Tim Thomas wore, he probably would have blended in with the coaches, skaters and goalies who surrounded him.

Thomas, the goalie for the Boston Bruins, stood next to a group of skaters along the boards Friday at Family Ice Center, distinguishable only by his white Bruins road jersey, the one with his last name and No. 30 on the back.

But the Tim Thomas Hockey Camp wasn’t about the Vezina Trophy winner and U.S. Olympian. Working in an environment designed to introduce hockey players to various facets of on-ice and off-ice training, Thomas explained the goal of his camp: to create a foundation for a well-rounded hockey player.

“There’s no one thing I want them to gain,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, there are so many areas we work on that they can pick up more than one thing.

“But even if they pick up one thing in an area that they didn’t know about, then their knowledge of the game and their knowledge of hockey has increased.”

Designed by Thomas and two of his former teammates at the University of Vermont, Pavel Navrat and Martin Wilde, the day camps are usually held in Vermont and Massachusetts. But Thomas expanded the camp this summer to Maine, an area with a strong Boston Bruins following.

This week’s camp at Family Ice Center drew 60 participants between the ages of 6 and 17, as well as local college, junior and professional hockey players serving as coaches.

During the final day of the five-day camp, Windham resident Sean Rogers explained how he picked up tips on dryland training, as well as fine-tuning his shot-blocking abilities. Max Boucher of Biddeford learned the importance of foot speed and the necessity of getting to the puck quickly. T.J. Leach, a Naples resident, discovered the importance of learning different facets of training.

“You can’t just stay on one topic,” Leach said. “Take dryland training. It means you have to be a better player and do something off the ice because it makes you a stronger player.

“Becoming a better hockey player isn’t always about what you do on the ice.”

And that was Thomas’ goal for the camp.

“The kids get to do a lot,” Thomas said. “The Tim Thomas Camp, the name on the camp might be what draws them. But we try to put on a camp that they improve at, that’s such a well-run camp that it turns out that it doesn’t matter who puts their name on the camp.

“We want to build a reputation that we have a very good camp. It doesn’t matter whether my name is on it or not. You try to get a high-quality camp together and I think the kids would say that it is, and that they become better players because of it.”

Thomas addressed a group of goalies at one end of the ice. At the opposite end, Portland Pirates left wing Derek Whitmore worked on drills designed for players to dig the puck out of the corners.

“I love doing this stuff, working with the kids, and it’s nice to see how excited they get,” said Whitmore, who is training in Portland this summer. “And with Tim, being able to have him here and working with the kids, it shows a lot about his character.

“I remember when I was a kid growing up and I got to go to camp with an NHL (player), I was star-struck. But they took the time out to talk with me, to teach me things, and that was really important.”

Mike Chase of Falmouth joined former high school teammate Derek Kump, Kevin and Brian Hart of Cumberland and Connor Anthoine of Lewiston as college-aged coaches at the camp.

“The Pirates were always here and I remember watching them and recognizing them when I’d be around the rink,” Chase said. “These kids are growing up and they were watching us when we were in high school, and now we get to help them.”

The diversity of the camp’s instructors, Thomas said, is beneficial.

“Each player and each coach has their strong points of their game that they can pass along,” Thomas said. “The kids end up getting strong teaching in all areas of the game. We’re trying to hit as many areas as we possibly can in one week. We’re trying to make it a well-rounded camp, and I think it’s been a good learning experience.”

Even Thomas, who is skating at the camp more than two months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, has gained something.

“I’m not doing much out here, but mentally when you’re out there talking to kids and you get questions, it makes you think through the position, why I do some things and why I don’t do others,” Thomas said. “In that way, it can help. It helps you analyze your game and see what you need to be performing on.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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